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On June 24, 2015 the University of Wisconsin Extension program published their testing for the thorough work they performed using the controversial Steam Canner for processing high acid foods. It has been many years in the making but I as a MFP am very pleased to finally be able to say that they are approved.  Full article here!
 
Peach Jelly Steam Canned!

The work that they did gave us the ability to process foods that are high acid such as jams, jellies, pickles, and salsas to name a few, in a vessel that uses approximately 6 cups of water versus in a water bath it may require about 4 gallons. With a few gallons of water (a gallon of water weighs 8lbs) in a canner that water bath canner can get heavy. With the drought in much of the west in 2015 less water is best!  The tests show that the amount of heat required to kill microorganism can be achieved by steam (212 degrees) which is also the temperature that water boils at in your water bath canner. 

The steam canner does NOT replace the need to sterilize your jars and can also be done by putting your empty jars in the steam canner, following the instructions as if they were full, the processing them for 10 minutes.

A steam canner also is NOT a pressure canner. The principles of steam are the same but the pressure canner also is achieving pressure behind the steam to get an internal temperature of 240-250 degrees. That is the temperature that is vital to canning your low acid foods such as meat, vegetables, and soups. So please do not use your steam canner for pressure canning recipes.

Here are the specific instructions from University of Wisconsin Extension website:

Back to Basics with Steam venting hole
  • Jars must be processed in pure steam at 212°F. The canner must be vented prior to starting the processing time until a full column of steam appears. A full column of steam (6-8 inches) should be observed venting from the hole(s) in the side of the canner during the entire timed process. Ideally, temperature should be monitored with a thermometer placed in the vent port, but the placement of jars in the canner may make this difficult. Some appliances come with a built-in temperature sensor in the dome lid and these appear to be accurate.


Victorio Stainless Dual purpose
Water Bath and Steam Canner
Victorio Steam canner with
temperature sensor in the lid

Jars sterilized for canning!
       Jars must be heated prior to filling, filled with hot liquid (raw or hot pack), and cooling must be minimized prior to processing. An Atmospheric Steam Canner may be used with recipes approved for half-pint, pint, or quart jars.    

       Processing time must be modified for elevation as required by a tested recipe. Elevation for any address can be checked here: http://www.daftlogic.com/sandbox-google-maps-find-altitude.htm

       Processing time must be limited to 45 minutes or less, including any modification for elevation. The processing time is limited by the amount of water in the canner base. When processing food, the canner should not be opened to add water. Regulate heat so that the canner maintains a temperature of 212° A canner that is boiling too vigorously can boil dry within 20 minutes. IF a canner boils dry, the food is considered under-processed and therefore potentially unsafe. 

       Cooling of jars must occur in still, ambient air. Cooling is important for safety. Jars should be cooled on a rack or towel away from drafts. Jars should not be placed in the refrigerator to hasten the cooling process.





Processing in Steam Canner: 

1) Add the correct amount of water in the base of the steam canner. (See instructions for your canner) Place the rack over the base, add the cover, and bring water to a low boil.

2) Pack and fill hot jars add the lid/ring and secure finger tight.  Set each full jar on the canner base and allow it to warm up while packing and filling enough jars for one batch.


3) Place the dome on the base and slowly over the next 5 minutes increase temperature setting of the stove until a column of steam 6-8 inches is visually coming from the small holes at the base of the dome.


4) Begin timing the process, maintaining the column of steam following the water bath canning recommendations adjusted for your altitude. Do not reduce temperature setting of the stove. The dome should not jiggle from the base during processing.


5) When processing time is complete, turn off the stove and wait 2-3 minutes before removing the dome. Remove the dome by turning it away from your face and body to avoid burns.


6) Allow jars to cool and seal for 24 hours. Remove rings and store the jars in a cool, dark, dry place.

 

 

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